Your Nutrition – Pregnancy Week 38

Your Nutrition – Pregnancy Week 38

Third Trimester


At pregnancy week 38, your baby is prepping for her first moments in the outside world, your body is making its final preparations for her first meal.

Your Nutrients of This Week

Balanced Diet for Breastfeeding
Your breasts reach their full size towards the end of your pregnancy. They might enlarge again after delivery until your milk comes in. They also might begin to leak a thick, yellowish milk called colostrum. This is normal. Colostrum is packed with nutrients and antibodies; it will help give your baby a great start.

Plan ahead for your mealtimes
If you are planning to breastfeed, you have to be as careful with your diet as you have been throughout your pregnancy. What you eat, your baby eats. 

Other tips for lactating moms
Continue to eat 2 servings of calcium-rich foods every day to meet your daily calcium requirement of 1,000 mg. Drink plenty of fluids to help maintain your milk supply. Before your baby is born, plan ahead for your nutritious meals after she arrives home. Try to cook and freeze a few simple meals that can be quickly reheated and stock up on nutritious foods and snacks.

Your Wellness Tips This Week

Starting Labour
While there is no perfect formula for determining when labour will start, your doctor can measure how close you are at your weekly appointments. These measurements and observations include:

  • Presenting or your baby’s presentation. This describes the part of your baby’s body that is farthest down in your pelvis. Ideally, this is your baby’s head.
  • Station. This refers to how far your baby’s head has moved into your pelvic cavity. Each station is 1 centimeter.
    • Your baby, high in your pelvic cavity, begins at -5 station.
    • Your baby at 0 station is midway through the pelvis and is engaged in your pelvis. Your baby probably will be at 0 station at the beginning of labour if this is your first pregnancy.
    • Once actual labour begins your baby’s head continues through the pelvis to 1, 2, and 3 stations.
    • At 5 station, your baby’s head is crowning (appearing) during birth.
  • Dilated or dilation. This refers to how much your cervix has opened. It is measured in centimeters. Some women begin to dilate several weeks before labour. At 10 centimeters, you are ready to start pushing out your baby.
  • Effaced or effacement. This refers to how much your cervix has thinned in preparation for birth. This is often measured by percentage. If this is your first pregnancy, effacement usually begins before dilation. At 100% effaced, you are ready to deliver your baby.

Your Baby's Development at Week 38

In pregnancy week 38, your baby’s systems and functions continue to increase. These include:

  • Your baby’s organ functions refine when you are 38 weeks pregnant.
  • His nervous system functions increase.
  • His brain helps him refine breathing, improve digestion, regulate his heart rate, and prepare for eating during the 38th week of pregnancy.
  • Your baby might pass solid waste, called meconium, prior to delivery. If your water breaks or leaks and it is greenish-brown in colour, this might indicate meconium spotting in your amniotic fluid. Call your doctor right away if this happens.
  • He has reached what will likely be his birth length.

Your Changing Body at Week 38

Sometime between pregnancy week 38 and 40, your body reaches its desired pregnant state.

  • Your uterus stretches from the pubic area all the way to the rib cage.
  • You experience engagement (also known as lightening). This means baby starts moving down into your pelvis area.
  • Gotta go? As your baby’s head settles into your pelvis, you feel added pressure on your bladder. This might lead to even more frequent urination.
  • Due to back pain, you might have a hard time finding a comfortable position to sleep, sit, or even stand for very long.
  • You might try to take your mind off these discomforts by:
    • Reading a book
    • Spending time with a friend
    • Visiting with family
    • Practicing relaxation techniques learned in childbirth classes
  • Is it really labour? You might experience some or all of these symptoms as labour begins:
    • Cervical changes, including thinning (effacement), softening, and opening (dilation) of the cervix
    • Water breaking (though the percentage of women whose water breaks “on its own” is small)
    • Diarrhea
    • Nausea
    • Regularly spaced uterine contractions that do not stop

* Comparison among all maternal milk in Singapore as of January 2022, as declared on the label.

SG.2022.23692.SMM.1 (v1.1)